The WWE really should think about changing when the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view takes place. I do love the gimmick match but a lot of the mystery seems to get lost because it takes place after the Royal Rumble and before Wrestlemania. Since it’s placed a couple of months before the WWE’s biggest event of the year, fans already have a sense of who’s going to win and/or retain their titles during the Elimination Chamber show. If it were after Wrestlemania, all bets would be off. But we take what we can so let’s see what (predictable) outcomes happened during the show.
But we take what we can so let’s see what (predictable) outcomes happened during the show. And to prove my theory, I’m going to once again leave the predictions I had for each match prior to giving the breakdown and review.
Match #1: Bayley vs. Sonya Deville vs. Mandy Rose vs. Sasha Banks vs. Mickie James vs. Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Championship inside the Elimination Chamber
As much as I would want Sasha Banks to win the first ever Women’s Elimination Chamber match, it’s obviously going to be Alexa Bliss because she’s going to be the champ that Asuka has to fight at Wrestlemania. I’m not sure how well this would go over as Alexa Bliss has become incredibly popular as of late, maybe even more popular than Asuka now.
Before I talk about the match itself, I will say that I have mixed feelings about the new look of the Elimination Chamber itself. I do like the look of the pods as they seem more functional, with actual bars to lock the doors in place. No need for those ridiculous chains and padlocks. I also do like that the WWE finally padded the steel floors of the chamber to prevent injury for the Superstars involved. However, because of these changes, the Chamber itself doesn’t look as fearsome as it did before.
Anyway, the match started off kind of slow and the Chamber wasn’t really used all that much. It felt more like a Hell in a Cell match for the first half. It was also easy to foretell the order of release because Bayley and Sonya Deville were the first ones to battle it out. Of course, Mandy Rose was third so they could beat up Bayley. Sasha Banks was out next to make the heroic save.
Don’t get me wrong. The first half of the match was truly enjoyable and there were some really decent spot. I will have to give props to Sonya Deville for being a top-notch performer dishing out and taking the punishment and making it look real. However, things really heated up during the second half and the closing minutes. It was actually shocking to me when Mickie James got eliminated just a few seconds before Alexa Bliss was released from her pod. I also really loved how Alexa Bliss utilized the Elimination Chamber in non-traditional ways, such as scaling the walls to try to escape from Bayley and Sasha Banks. But of course, The Boss eventually backstabbed Bayley, which is probably a set up for Wrestlemania?
The finish came down to Sasha Banks and Alexa Bliss. The Goddess attempted Twisted Bliss from the top of the pod but The Boss reversed the move into the Banks Statement. But it was locked in the outside of the ring. Bliss managed to get to her feet as Banks rolled the both of them into the ring. Banks took Bliss down again and then she tried to climb up but Bliss pushed her face first into the pod wall. The Goddess then connected with a draping DDT from the top turnbuckle to get the pinfall victory. Afterwards, Alexa Bliss gave a speech seemingly as a good person but then turned things around to show she’s still the Wicked Witch of the WWE.
All-in-all, this was a great match, filled with great storytelling and some really sweet spots. I will have to deduct some points for being rather predictable with the release order but, still, this was a great way to open Elimination Chamber.
Rating: 7.5 of 10 Alexa Bliss fake out speeches
Match #2: Titus Worldwide (Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews with Dana Brooke) vs The Bar (Sheamus and Cesaro) for the RAW Tag Team Championship
Honestly, does anyone have any money riding on Titus Worldwide winning the RAW Tag Team Championships just a few weeks before Wrestlemania? Didn’t think so. Even with the early advantage Titus O’Neil and Apollo Crews had, there was just no way The Bar would lose here.
The match was pretty standard fare. While Titus Worldwide got the early upper hand, The Bar isolated Apollo Crews for the majority of the match. I think they waited a bit too long for Crews to make the hot tag to Titus. Of course, when Titus eventually got the tag, he started to clean house. I will say that both teams did look strong but the chemistry between them just felt off. Also, Titus Worldwide should really make more use of Dana Brooke. I don’t care if she’s their statistician! She should be interfering in matches and just just banging her clipboard on the ring apron! What a waste!
The finish came after Cesaro took out Titus by throwing him into the ring post. Crews nailed Sheamus with a enziguri but The Celtic Warrior got the blind tag to the Swiss Cyborg. Crews still focused his attack on Sheamus, allowing Cesaro to take his foe down with a chop block. The Bar connected with a weak looking double team version of White Noise to get the pinfall and retain their championships.
This match came off better than expected. However, that’s because my expectations for it were rather low. I do think they wasted a little too much time for the hot tag to Titus. There were only a few really good moments but nothing that actually sticks out. This was more like a better than average match you would get from your regular Monday Night Raw show.
Rating: 6.0 of 10 useless Dana Brookes
Match #3: Askua vs Nia Jax (If Nia Jax wins, she will be included in Asuka’s Wrestlemania match)
As much as I would love Nia Jax to win, compete for the Women’s Championship at Wrestlemania and break Asuka’s win streak, I just know this isn’t in the cards today. Asuka’s going to manage to eke out a win.
It was obvious that Nia Jax was going to demonstrate her power over Asuka throughout the match. What I didn’t expect was to see Nia Jax dominate the majority of the match. It was fun seeing Asuka try her normal stuff but, because of Jax’s size, they just didn’t work. Jax simply displayed her dominance for about 95% of the bout with the other 5% being Asuka just dodging her opponent’s attacks. This made Jax look like the most fearsome force in the Women’s division, which is for the best.
The finish came out of nowhere. As Nia Jax picked up The Empress of Tomorrow for a powerbomb-like move, Asuka twisted her body into a leg scissors takedown. She then rolled up Jax for an awkward looking pinfall. Nevertheless, this was enough for her to get the pinfall victory and retain her RAW Women’s Championship. Jax, upset that she lost after controlling most of the match and losing suddenly, assaulted The Empress of Tomorrow, even smashing her through the protective barrier surrounding the ring.
You could say this was your typical David vs. Goliath match that you see in wrestling everyday. But that doesn’t really convey how cleverly everything was executed. The spots were set up well and the match told a great story. Its length was also just right; not too long and not too short. No one came off looking weak as well, which is incredibly important as Asuka is going to Wrestlemania and Jax has to remain her image as the irresistible force in the women’s division.
Rating: 7.5 of 10 women getting smashed through the ring barrier
“Broken” “Woken” Matt Hardy vs Bray Wyatt
Did Bray Wyatt already beat Matt Hardy during the RAW anniversary special? If that’s the case, Matt Hardy is due for a win.
The match started out like a weird gimmick match, with Matt Hardy hiding somewhere in the ring and singing a song while Bray desperately searched for him. It was kind of weird seeing The Eater of Worlds being so unnerved by the mindgames of another wrestler but it worked, thanks to the entire “Woken” gimmick. Even Bray’s usual scare tactics didn’t work on someone as odd as The Woken One, which I totally bought into.
Unfortunately, while the gimmicky parts were amusing to watch, the actual wrestling just felt slow and cumbersome. It was mostly them just taking turns beating the other down, with very little regard to the actual flow of the match. It also didn’t help that, while the feud was enjoyable months ago, it’s long past it’s sell by date now. It was just hard to get invested in a match that just has no fire and fury in it and this was one such match. And no amount of DELETE chants can revive a dead feud.
The finish came after Wyatt slammed Matt to the floor, landed a senton splash and got a two count. The Eater of Worlds then attempted a senton splash from the second rope but The Woken One rolled out of the way at the last second. Wyatt recovered enough and tried to connect with Sister Abigail but Matt got out of it. Wyatt then kicked Matt in the head but it had little effect. This allowed Matt to slam Wyatt’s head to the floor with a Twist of Fate for the pinfall victory.
This would’ve been a good match if they allowed both “Woken” Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt to go all out with the craziness, a culmination of a months long feud. Instead, we got a somewhat lackluster match with only a couple of funny spots. I would want to DELETE this match from my memory.
Rating: 4.0 of 10 dead feuds
Contract Signing #1: Ronda Rousey signs her WWE contract in front of Kurt Angle, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H
Let me guess: this is going to be a repeat of Wrestlemania 31?
I normally don’t review the non-wrestling moments of a pay-per-view but I believe this is important enough to include as this is Ronda Rousey we’re talking about. Triple H and Stephanie were beaming over the latest acquisition, breaking down her all of her accomplishments and highlights. This was really good selling for Ronda Rousey.
Then Ronda Rousey came out.
Honestly, it looked really odd for Rousey to come out beaming with a grin from ear to ear after Triple H made her sound like the baddest person on the planet. Also, she didn’t sound all that tough when she started speaking. It sounded like she was unsure of what to say. While this is extremely realistic as she’s someone who’s been a fan of the WWE, she just doesn’t sound like a wrestler at that moment. For a moment, it looked like it was going to be an honest-to-goodness contract signing but Kurt Angle revealed the reason why Triple H and Stephanie McMahon wanted her to sign a contract; that so they can own her and humiliate her like she did to them in Wrestlemania 31. This set Ronda off and, to make a long story short, she slammed Triple H through a table and signed the contract.
This segment had me groaning at the start as Ronda Rousey looked and acted like a fangirl instead of a consummate professional. Thankfully, they salvaged the entire bit with the entire Kurt Angle part and him blurting out the real reasons why Triple H and Stephanie wanted her in the WWE. There was a lot of subtley involved, which was a nice tough in the brash world of wrestling. I will give credit to all the players in the skit for telling a good story. Even Ronda Rousey, who fangirling about the WWE at the start then switching into the badass MMA fighter worked in hindsight. I do think Ronda needs a mouthpiece or someone to talk on her behalf, though. But this’ll do for now.
Rating: 6.5 of 10 Ronda Rousey’s slamming Triple H through a table.
Match #5: Seth Rollins vs. Finn Balor vs. The Miz vs. John Cena vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman vs Elias in the Elimination Chamber (Winner gets to face off against Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship at Wrestlemania)
C’mon! Everyone knows it’s gonna be Roman Reigns, the WWE’s golden boy!
This match actually had some really good in-ring storytelling. There were bits like The Miz trying to form an alliance with either Seth Rollins or Finn Balor, then the two latter Superstars bouncing off the ropes to knock The Miz back to the edge of the Chamber. The teased double Attitude Adjustment by John Cena to Rollins and Balor looked like it would’ve be a momentous moment. The double superplexes by Cena and Rollins on Balor and The Miz, respectively, looked cool but was mistimed by a good whole second or two. There were some good moments but things really picked up when Braun Strowman finally entered the Elimination Chamber. Suffice to say, Braun looked awesome here.
Braun Strowman just destroyed everyone and it was grand! Out of his six opponents in the Elimination Chamber, he eliminated five of them. He first eliminated The Miz. He then took out Elias. Shortly after, he shockingly took out Cena with a single solitary powerslam. Finn Balor had a good run on Strowman but The Monster Among Men was just too powerful and took him out as well. The remaining SHIELD brethren then ganged up on Strowman and they were pretty successful for a moment until Seth Rollins decided to try to eliminate Reigns. This backfired as this gave Braun Strowman the time needed to recover and take out The Architech. This left Braun Strowman with Roman Reig… uh oh.
The finish was a huge anticlimax. Basically, after dominating the Elimination Chamber since getting out of his pod, Braun Strowman was essentially eliminated by Reigns via three Superman punches and a couple of spears. The Big Dog finally pinned Strowman and earned the right to face Brock Lesnar at this year’s Wrestlemania. Boo! Strowman got upset and pummeled Reigns afterwards, leaving him in a heap in one of the pods of the Elimination Chamber to close the show. Yay!
It may sound like I’m hating on Roman Reigns and, yes, I technically am. But it’s not because I hate the guy. The problem is the buildup to his win was just so lame and predictable. I would’ve jumped out of my seat if someone like Finn Balor made it all the way. And I truly believe a Finn Balor vs Brock Lesnar match at Wrestlemania would be really good. Also, since Braun destroyed everyone else, it made Reigns look like he stole the win from The Monster Among Men. I can’t say I hated the match. I actually loved the majority of it. It’s just the endings I disliked.
Rating: 7.0 of 10 Roman Reigns lying in a heap in a pod
Overall Rating for WWE’s Elimination Chamber (2018):
You wanna know how unsurprising Elimination Chamber was? All of my predictions were on the money. That’s not enough to make it a terrible show. In fact, I enjoyed a lot of the matches despite them being predictable. It just goes to show you that, just because you know what’s going to happen, that doesn’t mean it can’t be good. However, the entire thing felt just above average, just surpassing my expectations by just a little.
Rating: 6.5 of 10 predictable pay-per-views
What did you think of this year’s Elimination Chamber event? Let me know in the comments section below!